Xero might be the new kid on the U.S. accounting software block, but it is quickly gaining in popularity. Built “in the cloud for the cloud” and forgoing accounting jargon in favor of everyday terminology, Xero is easy for accountants and business owners alike to use and understand. Its interface is beautiful, too.
As with any accounting software, new Xero users will want to take some training courses to familiarize themselves with it. Where are the best places online to get Xero training? How do you know if you are getting good information? Should you invest in paid training, or are the free Xero training resources adequate? Following are my three favorite resources for Xero training.
When it comes to Xero training, going straight to Xero itself is hands-down the best choice. Xero U offers live and online courses, webinars, and other events, making it a one-stop shop for learning the software. While plenty of courses cover the basics, Xero U also contains video courses and webinars on more advanced topics such as payroll, sales tax automation, and inventory management. The videos are thorough, beautiful, and easy to navigate, making learning at your own pace a breeze.
Xero U includes tracks for small business owners as well as accountants and bookkeepers. Each track is geared toward the learning goals most beneficial to the user. Accountants and bookkeepers may choose to become certified in Xero via Xero U. Online courses and webinars are typically free through Xero U.
Like Xero U, XeroTV is managed by Xero, so the videos are of the highest quality and contain the most relevant information. Think of XeroTV as YouTube for Xero users. It’s a little less formal than Xero U, but it is still a great resource for Xero training. XeroTV goes beyond basic “how tos” and includes an advisor series as well as an influencers series. You can also find customer stories, app reviews, and information on updates to the Xero platform on XeroTV.
Many people think Facebook is a big waste of time, but you can find tons of great groups for business owners and accounting professionals there. The Xero Official North America – Accountants & Bookkeepers group is a combination Q&A forum and education platform, which is great for both Xero training information and getting help with one-off issues you might encounter while using Xero. Group moderator Jay Kimelman is the Xero ambassador for the Southeastern United States region, so the information in the group is always current and accurate.
Some of the Xero groups on Facebook are geared exclusively toward accountants and bookkeepers, while others are meant for small business owners and other end users. Keep this in mind when you request to join a group. Also, when choosing a Facebook group for Xero questions or training, your best bet is to stick with the “official” groups. While other “unofficial” groups can also be good resources, they are typically not moderated or monitored by Xero or Xero partners.
Accountants and bookkeepers who are certified in Xero can be found in the Xero Advisor Directory. You can search the directory based on your industry and location. You also have the ability to search for “Xero champions,” who are highly trained in Xero.
You may be thinking, “Wait a second! This directory isn’t specifically for Xero training.” You’re right! However, many Xero advisors encourage their clients to become knowledgeable about Xero. Doing so helps business owners become more involved in their business’ finance, which has been a proven way to encourage financial intelligence and profitability.
Consequently, many Xero advisors provide training to their clients. This is very beneficial to the business owner, because their advisor can train them on the aspects of Xero that will help them most.
It’s easy to find Xero training online. How do you know what to avoid?
Watch out for paid Xero training that is only comprised of videos. With Xero U and XeroTV, there is very little reason to pay for video-only Xero training. Similarly, be cautious of Xero “training manuals” that are not distributed by Xero. The software changes rapidly, and you could easily learn you have paid for outdated information.
If you choose to pay for training from a bookkeeper or an accountant, make sure they are either certified or listed in the Xero Advisor Directory. As with any accounting software, knowing the theory and method behind accounting is not enough to effectively use Xero and train someone in it. Xero certified advisors have a proven proficiency in the software, and this in turn ensures you will be trained to use Xero to its fullest potential.
A final word of caution: Since Xero was developed in New Zealand and has been used in New Zealand, Australia, and some European countries longer than it has been used in the United States, many of the online Xero training resources and advice you will find in a Google search are not U.S.-based. This doesn’t mean the training or resources are bad, but it does mean it may be geared toward non-U.S. Xero users. Make sure you are looking at information created for U.S. Xero users before implementing any advice you find (unless, of course, you are not a U.S.-based business.)
As it becomes more popular in the U.S., Xero training will become easier to find online. This may make it more difficult to determine the good resources from those that are subpar. Going straight to Xero’s training resources will ensure you are getting the most accurate and most current information, both now and in the future. Choosing a certified Xero advisor to help you implement Xero in your business also connects you with the best guidance for your business and the best training on the features you need.